Essay Christianity as a Unifying Influence in the History of Europe

Essay Christianity as a Unifying Influence in the History of Europe

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Christianity as a Unifying Influence in the History of Europe

"Europe was a Christian creation, not only in essence but in minute detail"

The above statement can perhaps best sum up the relationship between Christianity and Europe throughout the ages. Christianity has been the strongest single influence in the history of Europe. Regardless of the century, no discussion would be complete without reference being made, at least in small part, to the Church. It is true that in recent centuries this influence has declined significantly, but nevertheless one could argue that it still plays an important part in the lives of many people. Throughout history Christianity has been both a unifying force and also a force for disunity. During the Dark Ages it was the only unifying force. By the Middle Ages people defined themselves by their religion and in Europe this religion had become Christianity. Through it's missionary work, it's monasteries, it's education, it pilgrimages, it's crusades, it's influence on art and architecture and it's Papacy it had united the peoples of Europe. By the thirteenth century all of Europe was Christian. It's ideas penetrated every aspect of life and every political and economic arrangement. It's churches could be seen in the major cities as well as the mountainside villages of rural Europe. It's bishop's were part of the politics of countries at the highest level and for many centuries it's clergy played the role of civil servants to the European rulers. It helped form the foundations of modern human rights and law across Christendom. By the end of the reformation Christianity had passed it's peak of influence on European society, and so in evaluating it's influence, it is perhaps best to end t...

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Lawrence, C.H. Medieval Monasticism: forms of religious life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages (2nd ed), (New York, 1989)
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